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2011 BMW X3

Overview
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2011 BMW X3 Review

By

KBB Expert Rating: 7.8

The original BMW X3 "Sport Activity Vehicle" debuted in 2003, and was one of the pioneers of the luxury small crossover craze, influencing brands like Acura, Infiniti and Mercedes-Benz to follow in their footsteps. But the years took their toll on the X3. Although it continued to improve year after year, without a full redesign, it began to look a little less fresh compared to the competition's newer crop of vehicles. Here's the good news: That all changes with the 2011 BMW X3. It sports a fresh look, a sporty - but not overly harsh ride, and a host of new luxury and convenience features.

You'll Like This Car If...

If the 3 Series Sedan is a favorite but you'd like something with a hatch, an easier load-in height, and just a hint of ruggednesss, the X3 is worth a look.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Front and rear legroom are not one of the 2011 BMW X3's strongest suits. And, although the last generation X3 offered a manual transmission, this compact crossover only now comes in automatic transmission flavor, potentially upsetting diehard manual fans.

What's New for 2011

The 2011 BMW X3 offers more of everything: It's larger, more refined inside and out, comes with more standard equipment, more power underhood...and, in xDrive28i form, starts for less than the previous generation.

Driving the X3

Driving Impressions The X3, more so in this second-generation, is truly a taller 3 Series Sedan. And we mean that in a very positive way. With a sporty (but less harsh than...

the first generation) ride, great steering feel and the same 2.8-liter and twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6s found in the 3 Series Sedan, this crossover is sure to please the enthusiast in your soul. The manual transmission has been dropped for this generation, but the eight-speed automatic is no slouch, and offers paddle shifters along with Sport and Sport plus driving modes (which also adjust the chassis and throttle/steering responses) for those looking for a little more sportiness in their life.

Driving Dynamics Control
This optional system allows you to modify shock absorber firmness, engine throttle response, transmission shifting characteristics, power steering feel and stability/traction controls to suit your tastes. Choose normal, sport or sport plus to change how the X3 feels based on the road or your mood.

Head-Up Display
Available as an option, this system projects navigation directions and the speed the vehicle traveling onto the windshield, providing the driver with essential information without taking their eyes off the road.

2011 BMW X3 Details
Interior

Inside the 2011 BMW X3, you'll find tasteful wood trim, intuitive audio and climate controls, and comfortable, supportive seats. You'll also notice the standard iDrive and 8.8-inch information screens, an electronic parking brake as well as the same futuristic-looking automatic transmission shifter (you'll know what we mean when you see it) that's been introduced across the lineup. Although the 2011 BMW X3 sports larger dimensions, front and rear legroom isn't exactly generous.

Exterior

Although the 2011 BMW X3 still shares the same wedge shape as the previous generation, this new incarnation sports a much more muscular, rounded look. The headlights and fog lights have been pulled to the sides of the vehicle, the kidney-shaped grille is more robust -looking, and the wheel arches are aggressively flared. To borrow a word from the German product presentations we so often see, the X3 design is an exercise in "dynamism." We couldn't agree more.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Mechanically, the X3 xDrive28i comes with a 3.0-liter in-line six engine mated to an automatic eight-speed transmission and puts power to pavement via a standard all-wheel drive system and 17-inch wheels. Inside, you'll find eight-way power front seats, silver matte trim, leatherette seating surfaces, a 60/40 split-folding rear seat, iPod connectivity, Bluetooth, HD Radio and the latest and greatest version of iDrive - which is much easier to use than previous iterations. The xDrive 35i ups the ante with a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged in-line six, xenon adaptive headlights, chrome tailpipes, 18-inch wheels and Siena interior wood trim.

Optional Equipment

You can equip your X3 with niceties like heated seats, a navigation system, premium audio, leather seating and a panoramic moonroof, but perhaps the coolest option is to custom-order your car and watch it being built via a video from BMW. Opting to custom order makes other perks available including interior and exterior color choices not available on dealer's lots and the opportunity to fly to the BMW factory in Spartanburg, South Carolina, and take possession of your shiny new car. If you're feeling ambitious you can also can put your new car through its paces on both a race track and an off-road course across the street from the factory at the Performance Drive Center.

Under the Hood

The 2011 BMW X3 offers two engines: a 3.0-liter in-line six that produces 240 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque, and a 3.0-liter turbocharged in-line six that nets 300 horsepower and 300 pound-feet of torque. Both engines are mated to a responsive eight-speed automatic transmission with manual shift mode; Sadly, the manual transmission offered in the previous generation is not an option for this new iteration. BMW's third-generation intelligent all-wheel drive is standard across the lineup.

3.0-liter in-line 6
240 horsepower @ 6600 rpm
221 lb.-ft. of torque @ 2600-3000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/25

3.0-liter in-line 6 Turbocharged
300 horsepower @ 5800 rpm
300 lb.-ft. of torque @ 1200-5000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/26

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2011 BMW X3 Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.8
Out of 10

Based on 44 Ratings for the 2011 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.6/10
    Quality
    9.2/10
  • Reliability
    8.9/10
    Performance
    9.2/10
  • Comfort
    8.9/10
    Styling
    9.0/10

2015 X3 xdrive28i

By on Wednesday, September 03, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 4,600

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Quick, Fuel efficient, and comfortable"

Cons: "None so far"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Traded in a 2013 Ford Edge Ecoboost for the 2015 X3, same horsepower numbers, entirely different driving experience. Ordered the vehicle from my local BMW dealer and got it exactly the way I wanted (M Sport package, Premium package, Nav system, driver's assistance package, Harmon Kardon audio), had to wait almost 3 months, due to ordering right when the 2015 became available. First impressions are very good, have had the vehicle for slightly over 3 months. Handling is great for a near mid-size SUV, it corners like a 3 series sedan. Acceleration is very good in Sport mode (acceptable in Comfort mode as well and it saves on fuel), no discernible turbo lag, the 4 cylinder is a great engine. Have taken it on a long family trip and returned an average of 25-28 mpg (this is with a full cargo hold of luggage). Cargo space was more that adequate for 3 people and their luggage (along with all the stuff a 4 year old drags with). The M Sport seats are worth their weight in gold, no fatigue even from 12 hour stints in the vehicle. This is my first luxury brand car (not my first German vehicle) and I am very pleased with it. Depending on how this vehicle holds up reliability wise, I may become a BMW buyer from here on out. (Side note: I am a female, but a car nerd, and horsepower and handling matter more to me than the amount of cup holders or vanity mirrors)."

6 people out of 9 found this review helpful

So much more fun to drive than others I've owned

By on Saturday, August 23, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 72,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "joy of driving, attractive design inside and out"

Cons: "gas mileage, repair costs"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"I was lucky to find a low-mileage, used X3 with an odd configuration: no bells and whistles except just what I wanted: climate package and navigation, plus roof rails for my crossbars. That's all I wanted beyond the beautifully tuned 6-cylinder classic BMW engine and the 8-speed transmission that I think make this car special. I love driving this car, especially on winding, rural roads in the places in the northeast that I visit regularly. Aside from one major repair to a steering component, there have so far been no repairs -- just routine maintenance. I do think the extended service warranty to 100,000 miles, expensive as it is, may be worth it because, when a BMW starts getting older it gets much more expensive to take care of out of warranty. I'm lucky to own one of the last 6-cylinder xDrive28i cars. It should become a classic."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

2015 BMW X3 is the best luxury compact SUV

By on Tuesday, August 12, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 2,500

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Diesel, MPG, Torque, M sport look, comfort."

Cons: "Auto start stop hesitate."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I owned a 2011 X3. I was in the market to traded in for a sporty car. I considered Fusion, Edge, Murano, VW CC, Touareg, Volvo S60, V60, XC60, Q5, GLK, and X5. I wanted to maximize Utility, Quality, Performance, and Efficiency out of my budget. In conclusion, I, again, choose 2015 X3, now with M sport look. Value: I traded in my 2011 X3 on June 2014 at 53.6% of original MSRP. I think that is not bad. Driving Dynamics: No doubt, every professional car reviewer agrees BMW has best overall driving dynamics. X3 is one good example of it. Reliability: I owned my first X3 for more than 3 years. I never paid any maintenance, fixing, etc.... Never have any problem. This is one big reason why I want BMW again. Interior : Thanks to the LCI treatment for 2015 model, I am sure BMW has the best interior material quality of the segment. Exterior: this is the part I love my car the most. I have been dreaming to get a M sport Package BMW for years. Finally, I drive one now. Quality: Some said GLK has best built quality of segment. I said X3 is not any worse than GLK. Comfort & Convenience: X3 has best cargo space of the segment, so I don't need to put further explanation. My wife love the comfortable sport seat and minimal wind noise. At 80 MPH, the wind noise is still very low. In conclusion, how to define a car of your dream? I think it is that every morning you get ready to work. You go to garage about to drive. You see your car and you feel this is going to be a wonderful day. That is how I feel. By the way, thanks to its diesel engine, I average 32.3 MPG on my entire 2500 miles. I am very happy at this result."

13 people out of 17 found this review helpful

Not Worth the Price

By on Tuesday, July 29, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 6,000

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
3/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
4/10
Performance
5/10
Styling
3/10
Comfort
5/10

Pros: "smooth drive; good mileage; powerful engine"

Cons: "not worth the value."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2

"My husband bought me the 2014 X3 in June of 2013 to replace my X5 which is one of the only advantages of the X3. It's a lot smaller than the X5 which I always felt as if I was driving a massive truck. The size of the X3 is much more reasonable. Clearly this car is not for me. I'm a stay-at-home mother and I put a whopping 6k miles on it in 14 months. Unlike my husband, who loves and appreciates high-end, expensive German cars, I just don't. Maybe it's a "guy" think but I just feel it's a LOT of money to spend, especially when I don't need a car of this caliber for my personal driving habits/needs. But I kind of question who really does. I know I sound ungrateful but it's just too much for me and I often feel uncomfortable in certain situations with having the BMW logo on it. To me, it can give off an air of entitlement and that might be my issue but I think the opposite can be true. Some buy this car and spend the amount of money precisely because it has the BMW logo. OK, about the car. It i IS a comfortable drive and got me through a pretty bad winter with a ton of blizzards and I never got stuck or had any problem driving up our VERY steep and long driveway or skidding, etc. so it's a safe care! I'll give it that! And it gets MUCH better gas mileage than my old X5 (but it is a lot smaller). But the number of "features" are overwhelming and made "worse" by having many accessible from both the steering wheel AND on other buttons on the dashboard, middle console, etc. The number of unncessary features along with this duplication makes me feel as if I am flying some large commercial airplane. I'm sure there are some features I'm not even aware of but one example of a "not-at-all" needed in my mind is the blinker options. You want to change lanes and you somehow "know" that you only need three "blinks" to signal the driver into whose lane you are entering? You can use the standard blinker and just flip it off when you've changed lanes BUT you can also push a small button on the steering wheel that will automatically turn off the blinker after 3 blinks AND that same feature is also on the dashboard. Honestly? It just results in a car which has a massive amount of buttons that I just can't imagine most drivers using. I feel it's more of a way to justify the expense than adding any benefit. But I'm just a Girl so what do I know? I do know that a week after I got it in June of 2013 and had 300 miles on it, a 19-year-old hit me with his old pickup in a parking lot on the passenger side of the car (don't ask why he drove perpendicularly into me). He wasn't traveling at a high speed at all so his truck didn't have a scratch but the body design of the X3 sides is one long, continuous piece from the very front to the back so the entire side of the car had to be replaced. And since I had picked a new color that was never offered before and since I had also gotten the very first shipment, there was a delay in getting the paint so my car was in the body shop for 3 weeks. I'll stop. You realize you are reading a review from a middle-age woman who considers a car more of a commodity and doesn't appreciate what some might. We own the car so I'll keep it maybe for one more winter and then I'm trading it in and choosing what I feel I need and I bet I MAKE money off the whole deal."

10 people out of 33 found this review helpful

Very Very Nice Vehicle

By on Monday, June 16, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 4,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Great Vehicle with excellent storage space"

Cons: "second seat don't recline. my only complaint"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This vehicle is amazing. I like the fact that I was able to custom order my vehicle at no additional cost. I had to wait a month before it was delivered but it was worth it. I opted for the xdrive 35i over the 28 and I'm glad I did. This thing screams. It has on the move drive modes so I can switch between comfort and sport which I believe engages the turbo. It also changes the shift ranges of the transmission. My daily driver is a 2007 Infiniti M45. When I compare driving pleasures, I think that the X3 without question is faster on take off because you can feel the all wheel drive of the X3 pulling but the V8 of the M45 pens you to the seat. Both have the ability for burnouts. That is both from standstill and roll.But I think the M45 would take the X3 in a head to head. I also opted for the painted trim. Money if you ask me well spent."

8 people out of 13 found this review helpful

Drives like a sports car. Great power, handling!

By on Thursday, May 29, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 21,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "FUN, FUN FUN to drive."

Cons: "NAV software needs to be scrapped and reworked"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"This a terrific all around vehicle. I've had several BMW's but this is my favorite. The Sport+ program makes this SUV drive like a high end sprts car. Could not be happier with this ourchase. Heads up display is really useful. Only complaint is the Navigation system is cumbersome and the Voice recognition software basically doesn't work. It's more frustrating than anything else."

4 people out of 10 found this review helpful

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